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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 11:59am

Leeser says Major League Soccer investment would go to voters

MLS
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 12:19am

The fans were out and so were the flags at Corner Tavern in West El Paso as the USA took on Ghana in the World Cup Monday afternoon.

Despite the pandemonium, word spread quickly that the Sun City could be in the running to land a Major League Soccer team.

MountainStar Sports Group, owner of the El Paso Chihuahuas, told Local 4 it's in preliminary talks to bring an MLS franchise to El Paso. The league is looking to expand from 19 to 24 teams by 2020.

"I would definitely support that," said one fan. "We have a huge community here with Juárez, El Paso and Las Cruces."

MLS teams typically play in soccer-specific stadiums that hold at least 20,000 seats. So where could El Paso stick a soccer arena? And who would pay for it?

Mayor Oscar Leeser said it's too soon to tell.

"It's early in the process," Leeser said Monday afternoon, adding that any big decision would first go to El Paso voters.

"When we talk about huge investments," he said, "I do want it to go to the voters."

Outside of Monday night's Chihuahuas game, some sports fans agreed with the Mayor, while others said they had no problem allowing elected officials to make tough decisions on their behalf.

One fan said he was glad city officials built the ballpark despite widespread criticism.

"There was a lot of opposition to the idea," said Joseph Marquez, "but the same people (that opposed the ballpark) are here supporting it."

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